Showing posts with the label Conventional Farming

Farmers on the Canadian prairies set fire to their fields - are they placing their reputation as "stewards of the land" on the line?

by Larry Powell SHOAL LAKE, MANITOBA, CANADA: As dedicated, well-meaning people gathered in Scotland to find ways to counter our climate crisis, farmers on the Canadian prairies were waging a "scorched earth" war on their fields.  By taking advantage of severe drought that has rendered those fields tinder-dry, they were able to effectively burn down marsh-plants - mostly cattails in and around wetlands diminished by that same drought.  Farmers commonly use specially-fitted quads like this to light fires on their land.  PinP photos.  Dozens of such fires could be spotted each day for many days this fall in the vicinity of my own community in southwestern Manitoba, too. So, do they really "get" the adage, "Think globally. Act locally?"  You be the judge.

A Mysterious Fungal Infection, Spans the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

The New York Times The Candidida aurus fungus. A CDC image. The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs. More here. RELATED? The European Union will soon ban a  fungicide - suspected of being  carcinogenic  -  one which remains in apparently widespread use in Canada today.  Ottawa remains silent -    by Larry Powell

Have crop shelter belts outlived their usefulness? Modern agriculture has spoken - they have.

Are trees now passé in our modern agricultural landscape? Please check out my brief video, below on the era of crop "shelter belts," now disappearing from the scene. As always, you are urged to add your own two-bits worth in the comments section, below.

Manitoba Growers Warned of Spreading Glyphosate Resistant Kochia

THE WESTERN PRODUCER Photo by WildBoar A map will show where glyphosate resistant kochia has been found in Manitoba. Story here.

Hog Barn Fire ‘Could Have Been Much Worse’

THE WESTERN PRODUCER A hog farm north of Leroy, Sask., is redistributing its stock after a June 18 inferno demolished two barns. Story here. 

Fusarium Head Blight No Longer Just a Manitoba Problem

Manitoba Co-Operator PinP photo. Producers across the Prairies need to manage to minimize their risk of fusarium, a serious and costly disease of cereal crops. Story here. RELATED: "Field of Nightmares." 

Big Farm Groups Adopt the "Ostrich Approach" to Major Environmental Issues.

by Larry Powell It has been exactly two weeks since I contacted Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), Manitoba's main farm lobby group, to comment on my story,  "New Studies Show Farm Chemicals Are Affecting More Than Bees. Bird Populations are Declining, Too.  Is modern agriculture's toxic hold on nature becoming a death grip?"   (It appeared both on this blog on July 30th and subsequently in the Virden Empire Advance weekly. A number of other publications declined to publish.)  I reported on new research showing that insecticides, widely used on crops in this province and elsewhere, were associated with declines in populations of birds which eat insects. The chemicals, members of the "neonicotinoid" family, are the same ones which have, for some time, also been linked to large and significant declines in populations of pollinators, especially honeybees.  Purple Martins.  Among  the "insectivorious"  birds  on the decline. Larry Powell

Phosphorus and Freedom - The Libertarian Fantasy

By PAUL KRUGMAN  - New York Times -  AUG. 10, 2014 In the latest Times Magazine, Robert Draper profiled youngish libertarians — roughly speaking, people who combine free-market economics with permissive social views — and asked whether we might be heading for a “libertarian moment.” Well, probably not. Polling suggest s that young Americans tend, if anything, to be more supportive of the case for a bigger government than their elders. But I’d like to ask a different question: Is libertarian economics at all realistic? The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus.

Food Crisis Fears Prompt UN Wake-Up Call to World Leaders

UN Conference on Trade & Development Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate. Full story here. Read Guardian story here.

The Curse of Fertilizer

National Geographic Ducks in a nutrient-rich river. PLT photo If we don’t watch out, agriculture could destroy our planet. Here’s how to grow all the food we need with fewer chemicals. Details here. Related articles: Field of Nightmares -  Ottawa continues to embrace the widespread use of Roundup on Canadian farms by letting corporate seduction trump scientific evidence. Ditches of Destruction  -  Manitoba’s “war on weeds” comes complete with powerful herbicides, questionable spraying practices and collateral damage.